Searching for an educational bail out


Perhaps the billions being spent to stimulate the checkbooks of failing corporations and to fund against a threat that may not exist would be better used to fund education.

The days are numbered for many teachers and staff members in the Shawnee Mission School District. By next year, the declining budget will continue to force the district to slash staff and services as more headlines appear about our government’s poor use of federal funds. It seems that our government officials have little regard for the thing most needed for our country to thrive: education.

The government has spent more federal funds on the country’s defense than on education, even though the only national threats the United States faces are Islamic extremists on foreign soil and North Korea, a nation struggling to feed its own citizens. Military spending has increased in the last two years by 7.7 percent and totals six times more than the defense spending of China, whose military spending is second only to the United State. Shouldn’t maintaining a literate population be much more valuable than defending against the next imaginary threat? Yet the military continues to manufacture nuclear bombs, some of those parts even being manufactured here in Kansas City, when the United States has no intention of using them and its nuclear arsenal is already an international leader in size.

U.S. test scores internationally do not crack the top 10 in math, science, or reading. Today’s youth will be filling the the important roles in the future of America, so why not supply them with the best available education and teachers? America won’t be the most powerful country if education is disregarded.

Although the government is aware of this education crisis, companies like AIG were bailed out for their mistakes with a $150 billion grant in 2008, and military science projects, like lasers guns, are still being funded annually instead of our much needed educational programs.

The Shawnee Mission School District will cut almost $7.1 million from its budget in 2011 next year, resulting in fewer teachers, less activity money and greater costs for extracurricular activities. It does not make sense that the government continues to unwisely spend needed funds on projects that will not have a purpose for many years while teachers and staff workers are losing their jobs.

But, solutions to the problem exist. The government needs to increase funding for education, much more than what is currently budgeted. Defense spending needs to be cut and increased only if apparent attack or threat is a serious possibility.

Defense and military funding is important. The United States is a global presence of security and military power, but at this moment, the military projects that may not have a plausible use for 30 years should be put on hold. Better education is needed and letting teachers go is not the key to success.

Michael Catt